Small business resilience strategies should always be top of mind, but it becomes more imperative during a crisis.
If you’ve been following our website blog, then you know that we’re located in Israel. Currently, we’re at war. We have no idea how long it will last nor how it will end.
Small business resilience is the difference between thriving or failing during these difficult times. So, here are seven small business resilience strategies you can deploy right now to help you navigate turbulent times, stay afloat, and even grow your business.
Making sure you have an emergency fund may seem like a no-brainer. However, how often have you found yourself waiting until you have enough profit to invest more in martech, advertising, expanded product or service offerings, and maybe even new markets? And when you do, you jump on these opportunities to grow your business reach.
The first strategy to ensure small business resilience is to have an adequate cushion to cover you in times of crisis. What’s a sufficient cushion?
Here are a few tips from industry experts.
Assess your expenses.
Set a target amount. Most experts recommend three to six months’ worth of your fixed expenses. This is similar to your personal emergency fund.
How volatile is your market? Suppose you’re operating in a market more sensitive to disruptions and crises, such as hospitality or live events. In that case, you may need a larger emergency fund.
Assess your risk factors. If you’re a startup, what will be the impact if your seed capital goes on pause? If you’re a small business retailer, you’ll want to consider the impact of supply chain disruptions and how that will affect your consumer base.
Once you set aside a sufficient emergency fund in a dedicated account, according to your specific needs, you can invest in those martech tools, advertising, and other techniques to grow your business.
Adaptability Is Key To Small Business Resilience
I think the best examples we have of the importance of adaptability to small business resilience is what happened during the pandemic. Businesses that survived and even thrived were those that quickly adapted to an unfolding global crisis.
Even though the world was very digitized, many brands still had limited or no online presence at that time. Small businesses that quickly put their products and services on digital platforms held onto their market share and customer base. Some small businesses went further, offering virtual open houses and special sale events. This ability to adapt protected revenue, brand reach, and customer loyalty.
More prominent brands also faced adaptability issues, needing to pivot quickly to stay open. An example is Mindvalley, whose revenues came from live events. Mindvalley sponsored conferences worldwide, garnering huge audiences and attracting the world’s top thought leaders. All their live events were canceled when the world shut down. Mindvalley quickly pivoted to online, virtual events.
Airbnb is another example. When travel restrictions were imposed, no international travelers were looking for Airbnb accommodations. The brand quickly pivoted its marketing efforts to promote long-term stays, local travel, and unique online experiences.
On the flip side, if your small business resilience model includes adapting to take advantage of new opportunities, you can turn a crisis into a blessing.
Etsy adapted by stepping into the growing online market during the pandemic by offering unique, hand-made items, expanding its seller base, and growing its platform.
Earlier in history, NetFlix successfully pivoted from a DVD online rental service to a robust online streaming platform, capturing the global entertainment market.
Adaptability is critical whether you’re a solopreneur, a small business, or a more prominent brand.
Robust Online Presence
If you’ve been following this website blog, you know how critical a robust website is to your brand’s resilience.
A website provides legitimacy.
Your website is also the only digital platform that you own. It’s the place to interact with your customers, build a brand community, and provide a smooth experience from the home page to checkout. Your website is the place to grow your business.
You need a website even if you use your social channels to sell your products or services.
Having a solid online presence cannot be overemphasized. It is one of the most critical small business resilience strategies you can employ.
And it’s not hard to do.
Remote Work Capability
Small business resilience requires that you be prepared for all possibilities, including not being able to get to your brand’s physical location.
Here are some crisis-resilience tools that will keep your business running smoothly during difficult times.
Video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet enable you to stay in touch with and collaborate with your employees and customers.
Project management software such as Monday.com, Trello, or Asana empowers you to manage your projects and keep your team on the same page.
Slack or Microsoft Teams are messaging apps that enable you to share information and files quickly.
Use cloud-based software to centralize your data, including vendors, customer details, and email lists. Be sure to use secure, encrypted communication channels.
During times of crisis, you want to drill down on customer retention.
Use emails and chat channels, such as WhatsApp and your social media platforms, to reach out to your customers. Ask them how they’re doing, what they need, and how you can help them. Tell them what you’re doing to weather the storm.
Assure your customers that they can still access your services or purchase their favorite products from you during these challenging times.
To the extent possible, personalize your communications.
Even outside of times of crisis, customer retention is one of the top small business resilience strategies you can employ to grow your business.
Crisis Communication Plan
You should create a crisis communication plan at the same time you write your strategic plan. How will you respond to a mistaken social media post? Who is responsible for responding to negative comments or reviews?
Your crisis communication plan should include clear messaging, channels of communication, and who will sign off on everything that goes out. It should be available to every employee so that everyone knows what needs to happen, when, and how when a crisis occurs.
Supply Chain Resilience
You might have favorite vendors, but small business resilience requires that you diversify those suppliers who provide the most critical materials. Relying on a single source increases your disruption risk if that supplier faces issues and cannot fill your orders.
Keep an eye on the health of your suppliers. Look ahead to see if potential financial or reliability issues are on the horizon. This will help you identify vulnerabilities in your supply chain and enable you to take preventive action.
Small business resilience relies on preventative action. The above actionable strategies are easy to implement. Staying abreast of developments in your industry should be a regular occurrence. But some crises fall on us suddenly. No one was prepared for the pandemic. And we here in Israel were definitely not prepared for this war. However, even during this intensely challenging time, we must still serve our customers and employees and keep the economic engine going.
- Be sure you have an emergency fund.
- Strive for adaptability.
- Maintain a robust online presence.
- Put systems in place for remote work.
- Focus on customer retention.
- Have a crisis communication plan.
- Diversify your suppliers.